SOLID START FOR MICHAEL D'ORLANDO AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
April 21, 2021
The 2021 Road to Indy season kicked off this weekend at the breathtaking scene of Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. Starting off his second full season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 class, Michael d'Orlando brought home a pair of top-10 finishes to shift the championship points tally into gear.
The three day event began on Thursday with an official day of practice, which began with a curve ball. An unfortunate logistics issue for tire availability forced the entire Road to Indy paddock scrambling to change strategies at the last minute for each of the three practice sessions, which ultimately set up the plan for the weekend.
Friday consisted of the two official qualifying sessions for the main events. d'Orlando and his DB Collaborative #4 Cape Motorsports prepared machine found themselves in a little tougher starting positions than expected, with a fourth for Race 1 and a seventh for Race 2. With the Barber circuit known to be an extremely difficult circuit for passing, these positions would prove to be less than optimal.
"Barber is a tough one." explains Michael d'Orlando. "With all the teams having so many prior opportunities to test here, the entire field were so close together in their lap times. At any given moment we were pretty quick but it's a matter of 1/1000ths of a second for each qualifying spot. We had a tough spot in Q2 but we made some adjustments to focus on the races."
Saturday was equally eventful both on and off the circuit. Race 1 in the morning went exactly as expected for results but it wasn't without some heat. Vying for the third spot in the opening corners, d'Orlando was forced back into his starting position quickly and for the duration of the 20-lap race he would successfully maintain that position and defend off the competition behind him. With the fourth place finish, this was a solid start to earn valuable points in the drivers' championship. But when time came for Race 2, the lights went out. Literally.
Due to a power problem in the Birmingham region, the start of Race 2 for the USF2000 series scheduled for early afternoon would ultimately be pushed to the end of the day, after the NTT Data IndyCar series official practice, whose time commitments are scheduled with the NBC television network. This delay would change the racing conditions once again forcing all teams and drivers to make further adjustments in car setups and on-track strategy.
"Race 1 was a good race and we finished with a solid fourth place which I am quite happy about. The goal of this weekend was to keep the car up front and finish, and we did so. However, race 2 did not go as expected. At the start of the race, my entire inside row got held up when the driver in front of me didn't get the jump on the green flag like he should and that gave the outside row the space to move forward, which forced me back to 11th. I did my best to make up some ground, and the red flag incident and safety car gave me the opportunity to take back a couple of positions with the restart. This track is a very high-speed race track and there's really only one corner to make a pass in (corner 5). Not much opportunity anywhere else to make things happen."
"To finish ninth in a race may not have been the start we'd hoped for but it's a long season. We brought home some points in the drivers' championship and we will build on this. Thanks to everyone at Cape Motorsports for all the hard work this past weekend and I’m looking forward St. Pete."
The Road to Indy Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship returns to on-track action this weekend through the streets of St Petersburgh, Florida, once again in support of the NTT Data IndyCar series. Michael d’Orlando and his Cape Motorsports team will go green for the first practice on Friday at 8:55am, followed up by two Qualifying sessions a 12:15pm and 3:30pm. The double header main events will commence on Saturday at 10:55am and 5:20pm.
d'Orlando Enterprises would like to extend their appreciation and special thanks to their partners at DB Collaborative, Focused Project Management, MG Engineering, UFC Gym - Mamaroneck NY, Dino Energy Drink, MotorMedia USA and Rising Star Racing. We look forward to another successful year together.
For more information about Cape Motorsports, go to www.capemotorsports.com. For more information about the Road to Indy's Team Cooper Tires USF2000 Championships and for links to the live timing and live streaming, go to www.usf2000.com, or download the Road to Indy TV app.
d'Orlando Enterprises LLC has developed unique and remarkable VIP experiences, behind the scenes access, and other entertainment opportunities for their partners at all of these events including the Indy500. For more information on these experiences, our drivers or alternative partnership opportunities, contact Art Wilmes of Rising Star Racing at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sherri d'Orlando at email@example.com.
Be sure to follow Michael d'Orlando on social media for all the latest information on Instagram (dorlandoracing, michael_dorlando51), Facebook (Michael d'Orlando Racing) and Twitter (dorlandoracing).